SAN DIEGO — U.S. Customs and Border Protection marine interdiction agents stopped a 35-foot yacht early Friday morning with almost 1,200 pounds of marijuana hidden in secret compartments throughout the boat.
“We have a large and active boating community in San Diego,” said Jeremy Thompson, Director of Marine Operations for CBP Office of Air and Marine in San Diego. “It takes highly skilled law enforcement officers to differentiate between legitimate boating traffic and those with illicit intentions. The agents demonstrated those skills in identifying and disrupting this covert smuggling attempt along our coastline.”
Marine interdiction agents find a 35' yacht with package of marijuana hidden in special compartments like this one in the bow. At approximately 2 a.m., agents conducting a routine patrol encountered the boat outside of Mission Bay in San Diego, as it was returning from Mexico. There were two people on board, a 33-year-old woman and a 51-year-old man, both U.S. citizens.
Agents transported the yacht to a nearby marina for a more in-depth inspection, and requested assistance from U.S. Border Patrol agents to search the vessel with a canine; the dog alerted.
A marine interdiction agent on the dock with packages of marijuana; agents found 1,194 pounds of marijuana in a boat off San Diego. Marine interdiction agents searched the boat and found 91 packages hidden throughout the vessel in various hidden compartments, including under false decks and behind false faces, as well as other hidden spaces. In total, the packages contained 1,194 pounds of marijuana, with an estimated street value of about $715,800.
Marine interdiction agents took the two people into custody, and turned them over to agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations who are assigned to the Marine Task Force in San Diego. Marine interdiction agents also seized the narcotics and the yacht.
The mission of the CBP Office of Air and Marine (OAM) is to serve and protect the American people. OAM applies advanced aeronautical and maritime capabilities and employs a unique skill set to preserve America’s security interests. With 1,200 federal agents, 267 aircraft and 283 marine vessels operating from 91 locations throughout the United States, OAM uses its sophisticated fleets to detect, sort, intercept, track and apprehend criminals in diverse environments at and beyond U.S. borders.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.